Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Source Code"

Hello, all. I'll introduce a movie concept, and why I wouldn't see it... and then the one really smart move that got me interested.

So, a guy gets trapped in this device that takes him back to the same eight minutes over and over again. He has a mission, he doesn't know what's going on, and... well, the trailer makes it look pretty standard. So yeah, we would expect standard time travel thingies.

But... there was one really smart move they made: hiring Duncan Jones, the director of the criminally underrated Moon. That particular movie was one of the best sci-fi films of 2009, and yet it flew completely under the radar. So when I found out he was directing the above premise, I figured I'd give this movie a shot. Benefit of the doubt you know?

Man, am I glad I did.

Let's get to today's movie then, shall we?

Source Code

Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a soldier who wakes up with no memory of what's passed and no idea where he is on a commuter train sitting across from Christina (Michelle Monaghan). When it blows up eight minutes later, however, he finds himself waking up in a capsule as part of the source code, a secret government initiative that is attempting to thwart an upcoming terrorist attack on the whole of Chicago by sending Colter into the body of Sean Fentress during the last eight minutes of his life to find out who bombed the train. And thus, with the help of Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), Colter sets out to do just that, hopefully while creating a new timeline as well in which he can save Christina.

So. Heavy-concept sci-fi, right? Well, one of my biggest fears with this was that it would fall victim to the trap that could easily be fallen into: it could fall right into using a whole bunch of cliches to help us get its ideas across. It would be all visceral and tense, but we could tell many things coming from a mile away.

Well... I'm pleased to report that wasn't the case. Some of the plot threads seemed to be going somewhere thoughout most of the movie, but then they took off in a completely different direction that I couldn't exactly anticipate. It helped keep everything fresh, and it helps keep the elements that we can see from a mile away from getting stale as well. And as for resorting to cliches to develop the characters? That didn't happen either.

I guess another thing that I can attribute this to is just how interesting the science is. Yeah, it can be seen as preposterous, but that gets lost on me when the science is executed so well it's easy to forget that. The science is part of what helps everything take such an interesting direction, after all, and the fact that we're invested in what this science can help us accomplish or enables us to do keeps us interested in what's going to happen next.

And yes, it is all really visceral, and it's visceral in every way that counts. It features some incredible performances from its cast, from Jake Gyllenhaal's emotional roller coaster ride that we see unfold as he works his way through everything to Michelle Monaghan's incredibly endearing Christina, who helps give some major emotional grounding for the whole movie. And all props have to go to Duncan Jones, who took what was already an incredibly intricate screenplay and turned it into an incredibly visceral movie that grips you and doesn't let go.

I... I really don't have much else to say about Source Code. It's as engaging as you can get in a movie, and so much more. I honestly don't have much else to say. Go see Source Code. It's the first movie that I've seen this year that I can call a really great movie, and honestly? There's not much to say beyond that.


A must-see picture of the year.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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